Timmy and I recently celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. What a wonderful year!? As a reflection, I thought it would be a good practice to record new things I learned each passing year of marriage (starting now). Perhaps they will spark some thoughts for newlyweds and singles, and some memories for the married veterans out there. Here’s three things I learned this first year:
- I’m more selfish than I thought.
I never realized the extent of my selfishness. After a long day, a good day, or a frustrating day, I used to come home and do whatever I wanted. I could bury myself in a book, spend the day with friends, go out with Timmy, or workout. Now that I’m married I come home and there’s someone else I have to think about. If I have a bad day and Timmy has a good day, I have to learn to pick myself up and celebrate with him. This goes vise-versa as well: he has to empathize with me and encourage me.
If I want to do one thing and he wants to do something else, it’s not just about one of us giving to the other: it’s about giving cheerfully. The danger comes when I say, “Ok, we’ll do what you want,” and afterwards I feel like a victim with resentment welling up inside. Sadly, I do that often! I have to choose cheerfulness when I serve Timmy. It doesn’t come naturally. If we both are exhausted, we still have to give to each other. It can be tiring, but has been extremely rewarding and has pulled us closer together.
Selflessness creates a new bond, stronger than self-fulfillment. We have to fight to put each other above ourselves. It’s impossible to do perfectly, but through the help of Christ, we continue to fight to love Him and love each other before we love ourselves. It’s nice to know that Timmy fights for me and I for him in this way. Being selfish is easy. Being selfless is worth the struggle.
- Budgeting is important.
First year of marriage is often tight for couples. It’s difficult to go out much or even to buy gifts for Christmas. We’ve learned the value of a strict budget. In future blogs, Timmy and I will touch more on specifically the how to budget, but for now I’ll give a brief overview.
Saving, giving, investing, and spending should be a part of your budget if possible. We’ve found that having a spreadsheet of our finances helps us keep an eye on our spending and keeps us informed with where we are financially. One of the top reasons for divorce is over money. This is a sad reason because it only takes time, trust, and discipline to handle finances. Couples should run towards learning how to handle their money, but for some reason so many have no clue where they are financially when they swipe their credit card. Timmy and I decided that we won’t buy anything we don’t have cash for. A house will be the exception when the time comes, but we do not want to start out our married life in debt. I realize some people have to pay off college debt, I would encourage you to knock it out as quickly as possible so you can continue to give, save, and invest your money!
- His family is my family. My family is his family.
Faults and all, our families are now both our families. Every family is different, and it was a weird, fun, and hard transition when I realized that I wouldn’t be spending every holiday with my own family. But Timmy’s family is just as important as mine. The more I let go of my entitlement, the more I am able to enjoy time with both families. I soak up mine every time I see them, and I soak up his family every time I see them. Now they are merging from “his” and “mine” into “our.” Obviously, there will always be a bond between blood relatives, but there is also a beautiful bond formed by marrying into a family. It’s just another reason that marriage is so powerful.
It’s been a lot of fun to learn how to enter into a new family and learn to love them as my own. Timmy and I are one flesh: he is mine and I am his. We are equal. I learned that I don’t deserve to see my family more than he deserves to see his.
For Better or For Worse
Marriage has been a blast for Timmy and I. Life is so fun and good. There are certainly hard times in marriage: Our first year we had to learn to live together as man and wife, live in San Francisco, and then transition to live in Chicago. A lot went on and a lot is still going on. We’ve found that praying together every night is a good practice to bond us together and to the Lord. Consistent time reading together and watching positive shows has been good for us too (Aside from the occasional movie, we watch The Andy Griffith Show). We love to dance, sing, take road trips, go camping, check out new Airbnbs, and cook together.
I’ve learned the importance of marrying your best friend.
I’ve learned how we’re never too old to be silly together. I’ve learned to laugh often. I’ve learned to take time to hang out with friends – girl nights for me and guy time for Timmy. I’ve learned the importance of being alone sometimes to spend time with God and think. There are so many more things for me to learn and I’m excited to see what year two has in store for us!